Multicultural marketing is essential when marketing specifically to audiences with a specific cultural background, and this is also often referred to as inclusive or diversity marketing.
The status quo in marketing is a standardized, generalized approach to everything that aims to reach as many people as possible, often casting a wide net. In other words, the copy, ads, and other promotional material and products are designed to appeal to everyone generally, and no one specifically. Unfortunately, in an attempt to be inclusive, generalized marketing sometimes has the opposite effect of excluding desired target markets and reducing opportunity.
Meanwhile, multicultural marketing is taking into full consideration the target customer’s ethnicity, language, religion, traditions, celebrations, and other applicable factors and utilizing this information to craft a marketing message that attracts them to your business.
Why Should A Brand Or Company Engage In Multicultural Marketing?
According to Microsoft Advertising, 70% of Gen Z consumers trust brands that represent diversity in ads. When markets get it right and leverage fine-tuned multicultural marketing, it helps put specific target audiences at ease. It creates a welcoming environment for them to trust and purchase from you.
Here are some statistics to put it in perspective. For example, IMPACT reported that multicultural consumers have contributed $14 billion of sales growth to the consumer packaged goods market since 2013. This is a lot of money that general marketers leave off the table when they cast that wide net.
The time to create marketing around inclusiveness, diversity, and multiculturalism is clearly now. And this marketing methodology will only grow in importance throughout 2022 and beyond.
How Does Multicultural Marketing Work?
Multicultural marketing often begins with crafting custom content that appeals to a specific audience. Developing resonance through specific cultural references allows you to build a stronger connection with your target markets and connect them with products and services relevant to them.
Research and a deep understanding of the audiences you’re looking to attract and serve are paramount to the process. For instance, if you know that people of a specific cultural background can’t use one of your products for religious reasons, you could point them to an alternative that wouldn’t be in conflict with their beliefs. This allows you to grow into markets you might not otherwise be able to.
As it has often been said, effective marketing is the practice of delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. And multicultural marketing benefits greatly from a tailored approach.
Gone are the days where you could set up one message, one funnel, and/or one campaign and expect success in every area. Diversity is a reality. And acknowledging this fact in your branding without going overboard is the key to success in inclusive marketing.
Examples Of Multicultural Marketing
The value of multicultural marketing should be clear. But it is nuanced, and it is possible to go overboard to appeal to a specific group of customers. As such, it’s worth taking inspiration from the brands that are doing it right.
One well-known example is Coca-Cola’s #AmericaIsBeautiful 2014 pre-Super Bowl campaign. In this commercial, the song “America the Beautiful” is sung by a culturally diverse group in multiple languages. In addition, the visuals highlight a variety of regions in America, including Chinatown in New York City, the Pacific Ocean, the Utah plateaus, and more. This ad became the top trending topic on Facebook after the Super Bowl.
Other examples that are worth a look at include Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, a brand that’s been designed to be inclusive to all women and men (all women are beautiful), as well as the dating app Bumble’s “Find Them on Bumble,” which puts a spotlight on the diverse group of people utilizing their app. Subtle yet effective.
In the Fenty X Savage 2021 fashion show trailer, Rihanna highlights a variety of models to illustrate that everyone is beautiful. She includes trans models and performers, drag queens, models of various ethnicities and body sizes, and gives a proper tribute to the LGBTQ ballroom culture, which is often ignored as an influencer in general mainstream pop culture. Rihanna and her team “get it.”
A study of the less effective campaigns, like Yellow Pages, Starbucks, and Cadillac will also prove worthwhile to find your path.
Wai Wear is a fairly new brand that has made a huge impact on the gay community. They appropriate the term, “Wai,” from Thai culture, which is a respectful way to greet someone. Thais position their hands in a prayer motion and bow their head – the lower the bow, the more respect is given.
Wai Wear gets it wrong by oversexualizing a term that is meant for respect, and they feature primarily cis-gendered non-Asian male models. Their founder created this brand because he spent some time in Thailand and fell in love with the culture. While we applaud them for trying to bring more awareness to Thai designs and fabrics, they totally miss the mark by not understanding the meaning of the wai and not including Asian models in their adverts.
How To Ensure Success With Multicultural Marketing Campaigns
Here are several tips to ensure your multicultural marketing campaigns “land” with your target audiences and help your brand instead of hurting it:
- The marketing team should be from the intended audiences’ community. The audience you’re targeting should have the message delivered to them by the same people in their community. Marketers often get this wrong by having, for instance, cis-gendered heterosexual marketers provide messages intended for the LGBTQIA+ community. It will miss the mark since the life experiences, and social interactions between these communities are vastly different, and only someone from the LGBTQIA+ community can understand the struggles and solutions that a brand could offer someone.
- Keep it simple (and less is more). The temptation might be to aggressively call out your new target market in your messaging, use imagery that reminds them of their culture, make specific locational or religious references, and more. And, in most cases, all that’s required is to highlight the many audiences that already interact with your brand, along with their experience.
- Personalize. Generalizing can lead to cultural appropriation, stereotyping, or otherwise offensive material, especially in an environment where diversity is less of reality (and, by the way, it would be wise to evaluate the variety present in your own organization if you’re planning a multicultural marketing campaign). Make your message as specific to a region as possible.
- Partner with an influencer. Partnering with a relevant influencer demonstrates understanding. They can help you guide your marketing efforts, be the face of it, or both. Hiring a multicultural marketing team is also a viable and worthwhile option.
- Research. Become intimately familiar with consumer backgrounds and their customs, beliefs, traditions, religions, and experiences. This will help you craft a message that better aligns with your marketing goals. Interviewing minority groups is one way to achieve impeccable messaging that will resonate.
- Localize. Google and search engines offer local results, especially when searching for services (restaurants, healthcare, petrol stations, and the like). Using your target market’s language – including their images, words, and stories – in your marketing campaign will drive results.
- Accuracy and authenticity are essential. If you have an ulterior motive in marketing to a specific group of people or region, you may be found out, and the ensuing backlash will be yours to deal with. Either that or your efforts will prove catastrophically ineffective. Do your research and ensure someone on your team can vet your marketing message for accuracy. This point can’t be stressed enough.
Multicultural marketing may well be one of the most significant opportunities for brands and companies today. That said, it should not be done carelessly or without forethought, and the priority should also include having a team that comprises the audience you intend to engage. Having the right team is something we’ll always emphasize as it’s often overlooked.
While all intent can be for good, the message can come unrelatable and unauthentic if the team delivering the story does not come from the community. It’s very apparent in most marketing when authenticity isn’t done correctly. If anything, it requires more research and development than many other types of marketing.
A deep understanding of your target market is key to your success, and it’s essential to identify all opportunities and resources available to fine-tune your messaging for accuracy and authenticity.